Over a dozen patients have been killed in a blaze that ignited in the intensive care unit of the multi-story coronavirus hospital in the coastal Indian city of Virar, 70km (43 miles) north of Mumbai.
The fire erupted around 3am local time on Friday in the ICU ward of the Vijay Vallabh private hospital, housing around 90 patients.
ICU ward of Vijay Vallabh Hospital in Virar West catches fire at midnight at around 3.15 am..Three fire brigade team reached at the location.. Fire brought under control..13 PATIENTS DIED pic.twitter.com/BPKhRZYvW5
— Urvi kar (@kar_urvi) April 23, 2021
13 covid patients have died in Virar hospital fire. As per CEO of the Vijay Vallabh hosp. a spark in the ICU has led to the massive fire. Other patients have been shifted to another hospital. Inquiry has been ordered to investigate the cause of fire.#FireInCovidHospitalpic.twitter.com/6bKu4Y2Ap4
— Dinesh Mourya (@dineshmourya4) April 23, 2021
At the time the fire struck, 18 patients were being treated in the ward, but only five survived the incident and were transported to nearby hospitals. The remaining 13 patients, including five women and eight men, perished in the fire.
An investigation has been launched into what might have caused the fire, with Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray saying he also directed officials to check whether the hospital was in compliance with fire safety rules.
It has been reported that the fire might have been sparked by a short circuit in the air-conditioning unit that ultimately led to an explosion.
Thirteen people died in a Covid hospital fire in Virar, around 80km north of Mumbai. A short circuit in the air-conditioning unit at Vijay Vallabh Hospital is cited as the primary reason, according to @htTweets correspondent Ram Parmar. The fire, now doused, started at 3.15am. pic.twitter.com/Z4MrgyRLDU
— Sachin Kalbag | Wear a Mask and Get Vaccinated (@SachinKalbag) April 23, 2021
It took firefighters about two hours to extinguish the flames, which by that time reduced the ICU ward to smoldering debris, footage on social media shows.
India PM Narendra Modi expressed condolences to the families of the victims, calling the incident “tragic” and pledging additional compensation for those who lost family members or were injured in the conflagration.
The incident comes as hospitals across India grapple with a shortage of oxygen supplies amid a surge in coronavirus infections, believed to be driven by the new ‘double mutant’ strain. On Thursday, New Delhi banned oxygen supplies for industrial purposes to ensure depleted supplies of liquid oxygen in hospitals are replenished.
On Friday, India broke its own global record for daily coronavirus cases, reporting 332,730 infections, up from 314,835 new cases the day prior.
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!